Five members of Olin’s Class of 1962 were presented with Quilts of Valor by fellow Olin alum and classmate Linda Gravert in a ceremony held June 7 at the Olin American Legion post.
Leroy “Butch” Krutzfield, Bob McAtee, Paul Thomsen, Richard Becker and Bill Milder where honored for their service.
During his 20 years in the service McAtee served 11 years overseas in places including Germany, Vietnam and Thailand, where he met his wife Mary. During his time serving in the military, McAtee won 14 awards.
Richard Becker was drafted into the Army in 1966 and served two years. During his service, Becker’s time was split between Vietnam before returning to the states and serving out the rest of his service time in Louisiana.
Thomsen was drafted into the Army in 1965. Due to his typing skills, he was sent to stenography school. After graduating in 1966, he was stationed in Germany and served the rest of his active duty time in Europe. After returning home, he served four years in the reserves, during which time he met his wife Linda.
Krutzfeld joined the Navy and worked on airplanes from 1962 to 1966. He recalled how his deployment got off to a circuitous start.
“They flew me from California to Japan to catch a ship that was headed back to the United States,” he said.
After returning to the states, he was sent to Florida where he learned how to work on the electrical system in the planes.
Milder received a deferment in 1965 before being drafted into the Army 1966 where he went to clerical school and then jump school. While serving in Vietnam, he ferried supplies and wounded.
Also honored, though not with an official Quilt of Valor, was Dennis Ahrendsen, who was killed in action in an ambush while serving in Vietnam. Ahrendsen was the only one hit in the ambush and was killed immediately. Accepting a quilt was Ahrendsen’s sister Sheryl Knodel. Knodel was surprised by the honor and thanked Linda Gravert for the quilt.
Ahrendsen is one of the veterans for which the Olin post is named after.
Following the ceremony, the classmates continued to reminisce over a meal.